• US Navy
    US Navy

Northrop Grumman's multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aircraft has achieved a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC) by the US Navy.

The MQ-4C Triton is the U.S. Navy’s only uncrewed, high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft performing persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting.

Since achieving early operational capability in May 2020, the US Navy's Pacific Fleet employed Triton in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility conducting maritime and reconnaissance missions.

Northrop Grumman has delivered five multi-intelligence Triton aircraft to the US Navy, with the latest delivered June 2023.

“Triton has proven to be invaluable for the maritime patrol and reconnaissance mission in the Indo-Pacific. Now that the system has achieved initial operating capability, commanders will be able to fully leverage its powerful sensor suite to detect and deter potential adversaries around the world,” Rho Cauley Bruner, Director, Triton Program for Northrop Grumman, commented.

“Persistent global maritime awareness is central to deterring, or competing and winning against, our adversaries. Triton ensures we’re making informed decisions and effectively operating anywhere in the world,” added Captain Josh Guerre, Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Manager for the US Navy.

Built for the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force, the multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton supports a wide range of missions including maritime patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue and communications relay. These aircraft provide commanders with persistent surveillance for the prediction of an adversary’s behavior and enabling better planning, greatly enhancing joint military responses and operations, Northrop Grumman said.

Northrop Grumman said that, with an operating altitude greater than 50,000 feet and endurance of 24 hours, Triton provides continuous communications relay to keep a distributed Navy connected, while ensuring commanders are operating off a common operational picture. Its unparalleled, long-range sensors allow it to detect, classify and track maritime targets well outside the detection of enemy ships and surface-to-air missiles.

It said that in one 24-hour mission, Triton can survey four million nautical miles (7.4 million kilometres).

A feature article looking at the latest status of the Triton program will feature in the September issue of ADM.

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